Archive for November, 2012

Enter SMAT

Posted: November 25, 2012 in New Indie Music

Smat

Smat

Sirona Records

Review by Kent Manthie

 

The latest, self-titled album by the worldly Spaniard, Smat Erebus, who releases his albums under “Smat” is tagged as being “dubstep” – which doesn’t really seem to do justice to the eclectic, busy sounding tunes on this CD.  The music is totally electronic, with snatches of an Aphex Twin sound to it, i.e., the metallic pitter of the drum machine, the minimalistic atmosphere and the way it captures the “sound” of “Bauhaus”-style art.

This eponymous album is a follow up to a CD he put out earlier this year, in March (2012) on Torn Flesh Records, under the name, “Erebus Redemption”, the album was called A Pawn of Darkness, a 12-song, on which Smat took care of all the instrumentation:  guitar, vocals, synths and electro sounds as well as the producing aspects.

This latest, self-titled album, released in October of this year is on the France-based independent label, Sirona Records.

The first track, “Antidote” starts off with a bit of reggae/dub ‘riddims’ that give it a blunt-smoking, mellow texture to it.  The next tune, “Discharge”, however, jolts you into a smashingly heavy, explosive mélange of electronica.  But after “Discharge”, “Dr. Red Ded” brings yet another stylistic change:  “Dr. Red Ded” has the same hyper-synthesized tunage and beats, yet it’s slower than the previous song, but more active than the first cut.    Another thing about “Dr. Red Ded” is that it too, as in the album’s first cut, “Antidote” has a bit of those dub riddims, but this one’s mixed it up with a slow, reggae beat underneath it all and a hail of electronic lightning flashes of beats that tantalize the ears, as icing on a cake.

The rest of the album is pretty much in the same vein; it isn’t that diverse, musically speaking, but, at the same time it isn’t an album full of carbon copies of one set of notes and/or beats:  each song has an identity of its own, which makes Smat pleasurable listening.

So far, Smat/Erebus Redemption has been putting out some creative and vivid music.  Let’s hope he keeps up the good work.  Look for information on Torn Flesh Records on Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/tornfleshrecords.  For information on the new project, Smat, check out Sirona Records’ website, http://www.sirona-records.com, where you can find out about lots of indie bands/artists from all over that merit a look-see:  there’s quite a big roster of artists on Sirona, including The Merricks, 0s04, Jared Balogh, Epileptik, Golgotha and much more.

So – Happy Listening, everyone!  -KM

OsO4/Stirner – Split EP

Telecum

SkumRex Recordings, 2012

Review by Kent Manthie

 

Well, I’m back, everyone.  Sorry for the delay, but I’ve been ill and my roommate broke her damn foot too, so I’ve had to help her around as well, so all that has kept me both busy and sick.

Anyway, to get the ball rolling here, I’ve got a brand new “split EP” from OSO4 and Stirner, a 5-track EP entitled Telecum.  It’s a thrashing, ear-splitting, brain-gnawing whirligig of crippled emotion and detached reality, something about which I know a little, myself.

Cuts 1-3 are blasts by European mayhem makers 0s04 – really unique, ear-bleeding cacophony that has a certain je ne sais quois to it.  The first three tunes are from Euro-noise artists 0s04, interestingly enough, though, when you really dig deep inside the metal-on-metal, industrial noise that they play, there is a certain intelligence, a certain knowledge that is used as metaphors and allegories for the riotous, uncertain times of the world.  It’s obviously not just noise-for-noise’s sake.  They seem to be mirroring the chaos, violence and uncertainty, for starters, of the modern world that’s all around them – and us, since we’re all in this jungle together – some in better places than others.

The last two cuts are Stirner’s (“Fattening Fuck” and “The Antisocial Network”).  Two pieces of thermonuclear chaos that keep you on your toes and definitely will invade your dreams – even the most lucid of them.

In looking back at what I listened to when I first heard it, I could tell that both 0s04 and Stirner complemented each other quite nicely and all five songs seamlessly were woven together.

Both Stirner and 0s04 have Facebook pages and while I’ve written a couple reviews in the past of other Stirner releases, this was actually my first exposure to 0s04, which, alas, I had a difficult time trying to find some factual information about.  All I can say for sure is that they record for Sinora Recordings, a French outfit and that there is a lot of 0s04 stuff out there on the web for the curious.

If you’d like to find out more about either artist, check them out on their respective Facebook pages (do a search within Facebook to get to their pages) and you’ll be exposed to a nice underworld of indie, DIY, apocalyptic, anarchic, industrial-noise-experimental, atmospheric and heavily textured soundscapes.

I hope you enjoy – but beware, it’s not for the faint of heart, these “soundscapes” are far from your average “rock & roll” stuff – no verse/chorus/verse/guitar solo/chorus- style music, but rather a metallic/ambient suite of environmental sounds to entrance you that will serve well as a soundtrack to eschatological brutality.   –KM

Thanks for 4 More Years!

Kent Manthie

Hi everyone.  Sorry for the dearth of postings in the past week or two – I’ve been on vacation.  But I’m back now and I wanted to just post a little something to whet your appetites.

Well, it’s Sunday morning right now, November 11, 2012 as I write this.  That means it’s been almost a week since the euphoria of Election Night:  at 8:17 PM, Pacific Time (11:17 on the East Coast:  NYC, D.C., etc.) CNN (what I happened to be watching at the moment) called the election for Obama.  Before that, the “projections” had started to come in fast & furious just after 8:00 PM, as a little panel of pundits were pontificating on the whole thing, Wolf Blitzer and  John King kept breaking in and announcing the outcome of the returns in the elections, state by state, with that slick touch screen map they had, they looked as if they were having a ball, by going over the counties, for instance, of a particular state.  Anyhow, I think the way it works is that they don’t do any “projections” of states that have tallied over 80% of the votes, and when someone wins a particular state the winner is awarded x number of electoral votes and the magic number is 270 for a candidate to win and each state has a certain amount of electoral votes, depending on the population size, etc.  For example, when they started projecting the winners, state by state, the map looked pretty heavily red, but states like Wyoming (which Romney won) only has a population of anywhere between 500,000 – 600,000 – that is smaller than many cities in other states, so Wyoming would’ve had a small number of electoral votes, but the more populous a state, the more electoral votes.  So, as I was writing, just after 8:00 (Pacific Time), Wolf & John on CNN kept interrupting the punditry going on with projection after projection, and while Romney won many states, he won the wrong ones – states like Utah, Wyoming, Arkansas, Missouri and, no doubt, the good-ole-boy Deep South – Mississippi, Alabama & Georgia.  According to the map, it might have looked as if Obama was getting beaten, with so much red on it, but there was a big blue streak up & down the West Coast:  Washington, Oregon and, of course, California.  Arizona, home of Mexican-hating Sheriffs and creepy old people. etc, went to Romney, unfortunately, but next door, Obama won New Mexico, but lost Texas (no surprise there).  When you shifted over to the East Coast, though, where there are a lot of small states – not the huge chunks of space on a map like Utah, California, Colorado, Nevada, etc.  Up in the Northeast, there’s a lot of states that are pretty small and don’t take up a lot of space on a map, i.e., Vermont, Connecticut, Delaware, Rhode Island, New Jersey and New Hampshire; the biggest sized states include New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Maine, which the President mostly won handily – Mass., NY, PA, Vermont, Delaware, etc.

Anyway, as the projections were coming in pretty rapidly, state by state, the electoral votes were racking up quickly, with each state’s projection came more electoral votes, so even though Romney won a lot of the South, a little of the Midwest, except for liberal Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and his Mormon constituents in Utah, as well as the anti-immigrants in AZ, Obama won the states that mattered in terms of electoral votes.  In the beginning, Romney racked up some votes in the states he won, but, by about 8:10 (I’m using Pacific time here, since I live in CA) Romney had just barely broke the 200 vote barrier, while Obama was already way ahead with 240, then 250, and so on, and then, as I wrote a moment ago, at 8:17 PM, Wolf & John broke in once again for another projection – but this projection was a big surprise:  not only did they call another state for Obama, but at that moment, they called the whole election for him, because he had just won Ohio, which gave him 17 electoral votes, which, at that time, put him over the top, giving him, something like 274 votes.  After that, euphoria broke out all over – they had cameras in Chicago – Obama’s HQ – there was dancing in the streets, people were ecstatic, waving those big, inflatable “Os”, also, they showed Times Square in NYC, where, again, people were joyously reveling in the delight of Obama’s re-election.  In fact, they even had a team in Kenya, where Obama’s father was from, where it was a little after 7:00 am, Wednesday morning, due to the time change and the locals there were also joyously dancing around in their streets as well.  It was a great time for not just America, but the world; if you remember, when Bush was president, he did so many unilateral, awful things which turned the world against the US government.  We became a menace and a laughingstock under Bush, but when Obama came into office in 2009, the world breathed a collective sigh and welcomed the new administration with open arms.

When all was said and done, though – there was still a few more states to tally – Obama really kicked Romney’s ass – Obama ended up with 304 or so electoral votes to Romney’s mere 201 .  It was an electric, ecstatic night after all was said and done.  At first, during the day and into the early evening, it was a tense and close race, but the end result was a superb victory not just for Obama & Biden, but for the whole country, whether people thought so or not; for instance, I’m hoping that Obama sticks with his promise to let the Bush-era tax cuts, the ones that were only for the richest Americans and screwed the middle class, by making them carry the burden of taxation.  Since there’s such a big to-do about the so-called “fiscal cliff” that you can’t turn on the TV without hearing about and the Republican Speaker of the House says he wants to work with Obama on the “fiscal cliff”, but that he doesn’t want any raising of rates.  All this discussion about it is rather arcane – the talk about “rates” versus “increased revenues” and on the other hand, spending – there should be a minimum of spending cuts and a staying away from cutting spending on crucial programs that middle class, lower-class-working poor and just plain poor people rely on:  everything from LIHEAP, which helps those in need pay their utility bills – especially electricity, gas and phone bills; food stamps, Head Start programs, cuts in Medicare, etc.  What should be cut is defense spending – there is so much spending going on in the defense sector which is not that necessary – especially now that the troops are coming home from the waste of time, lives and money that the Iraq adventure was and the gradual drawdown of troops in Afghanistan as well, both of which were bleeding this country dry – and the whole time that was going on, Republicans were bawling about how we need to cut all this “wasteful” (in their eyes) spending, they never even broached the subject of the billions being wasted in Iraq & Afghanistan.

So, let’s hope that the President and Speaker Boehner as well as the Senate, which is, at least, more friendly, even more so now that the Democratic majority has been upped to 55-45, in favor of the Dems, of course.  Unfortunately, they’re still 5 votes short of the 60 votes needed to pass many bills, that is, without any Republican crossover.  The only obstacle they face now is the tool that the minority party has, which is the filibuster.  Of course, you don’t want to get rid of the filibuster because then what happens if, gawd forbid, the Republicans somehow get lucky and back into a majority (hopefully not for decades, if ever) and the Democrats are the minority – they’ll need the filibuster too, so it’s not wise to do away with something that may be needed in the future by the Dems.

Well, let’s all just, at least for now, bask in the ecstasy of Obama’s victory!  This is a great time!  Plus, now that Obama doesn’t have to worry about re-election anymore, he can be much more bold and get things done that might’ve been used against him in a re-election.

Thanks to all who voted for Obama!!!  WE WON!!!

KM

 

Thoughts on Election Eve…

By Kent Manthie

 

This is it – it’s Monday the 5th of November – Election Day Eve.  Tomorrow, hopefully millions of Americans will be packed in lines all over the country – and in those lines – also hopefully, will be more than just old people and right-wing Christian fanatics.  I am really, really counting on the people who matter most in this country – the youth – that is, people between the ages of 18-30, who are usually just written off as being so solipsistic that they care little or nothing for things beyond their own noses.  I know that this stereotype does not hold water for the majority of people in that age bracket – but the problem is – that, people who do tend to say and/or think that are right in one aspect – that too many young people don’t bother voting – they either have this ludicrous, nonsense idea that there is no difference between political parties – and, in some cases – the US House, for example – that is more and more true – the Republicans have pretty much, by themselves, or through Democratic strategies – lost their moderate wing and what’s left is a cesspool of far-right demagogues who just stink of toxic waste and carry around with them a trail of the stench of death, greed and fanaticism.  Some of the absolute worst Republican House members include (but not limited to, in any way):   Steve King, the crass, lame-brain bigot from Iowa, Paul Broun, the overzealous, Christian fanatic (the one who thinks that the earth is really only around 9000 years old(!!!) as well as who said that the theory of evolution and other scientific discoveries that are these days, considered not even controversial, but rather a fact of life as “lies from the pit of hell” – I mean – what kind of people would elect such a buffoon – this nut doesn’t even belong in any political office – neither dog catcher, county auditor in some hick ville, but especially not in the United States congress!  Then there’s the irascible, hateful demagogue from California, David Dreier, whose only mission in congress is to pick fights with Democrats – every time he opens his mouth it’s to attack “liberals” and Democrats in the House, as well as the current Democratic President, Barack Obama.  The idiots who’ve put these Neanderthals in elective office deserve these schmucks.  But the problem is that – not just the morons who elected them are stuck with them, they are now in positions to make life pure hell for the majority of Americans who do not agree with them at all.  So why do these yahoos keep getting re-elected?  Because the apathetic non-voters are too busy with their own lives to organize political movements and opposition programs to get out the vote and get those who would otherwise not “waste” their time in line to vote, registered and make them understand that, yes, indeed, their vote as well as every vote does count – look at what happened in the 2000 presidential election – because there weren’t enough young, idealistic people to get in the voting booth and cast ballots, Al Gore was denied his rightful election – he did win the popular vote, but because of the anachronistic Electoral College, he ended up not getting the requisite electoral votes and even all the popular votes weren’t properly counted in Florida (among other states as well, I imagine) and so, in the end, Bush was handed the presidency on a silver platter by his ideological cohorts in the Supreme Court – a decision that was predictably down party (or ideological) lines – 5 conservative votes to 4 liberal votes – which was not and can never, ever be considered a “mandate” – hell, he wasn’t even really elected, technically.  That was one of the most saddest times in American History – when an election is openly stolen right in front of your eyes – not like it was in 1960, when JFK’s corrupt, criminal father “bought” him the presidency and Joe Sr. and the rest of Kennedy’s henchmen got Chicago, IL, for one, to commit massive fraud – there were ballots cast by dead people, by people who didn’t exist, multiple balloting, all sorts of seamy things done – and in the end, when Nixon was made aware of all the fraud that had taken place and he had every right to challenge the outcome and so could’ve been rightfully president, he chose to not make a fuss and just let JFK go on to be president – I guess this was back in a totally different era, when statesmen like Mr. Nixon as well as others, had the decency to think about the bigger picture and the good of the country and thought that a protracted fight like that would just distract the citizens and prevent a coherent outcome and also prevent things from starting and governance beginning.

Tomorrow, if Barack Obama loses to this pencil neck Romney, I will truly be ashamed (again) of being an American, for, of course, when you have one Republican in office like that, it isn’t just Romney that comes to town, but a whole cast of circus freaks who will start, as in the Bush years, trying to shove all sorts of lies and falsities down our throats, like trying to convince us that 2+2=5, that Black is White, Up is Down, etc.  Make no mistake – unless Obama wins tomorrow, this country is as good as on the road to ruin – We’re already heading down the same path as the Roman Empire did, but this will only hasten the inevitable ignominious end.  – KM